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Firefly Music Festival cancelled for the second year in a row

In 2022, the Delaware festival promised to be back this year, but that's not happening. Meanwhile: Phish is coming.

Billie Eilish performs during the 2021 Firefly Festival in Dover, Dela., in 2021.
Billie Eilish performs during the 2021 Firefly Festival in Dover, Dela., in 2021.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

For the second straight year, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival is not happening.

On Thursday, music promoters AEG Presents announced that the festival, which was held at The Woodlands at Dover Downs speedway every year from 2012 to 2022 (with the exception of the COVID-19 pandemic year of 2020), would not be staged this year.

“Firefly Music Festival will not return in 2024,” a message posted on the festival’s official social media channel read. “We look forward to powering Firefly’s lights back on someday when the timing is right, but until then, The Woodlands will continue to host new music events for years to come. Keep on dancing, fam.”

In its 10 years of existence, Firefly positioned itself as an East Coast answer to Coachella, the California desert festival also overseen by AEG Presents. The fest founded by Red Frog Events, later acquired by AEG, featured some of the biggest names in music: Paul McCartney, OutKast, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, the Killers, and Snoop Dogg, among them.

Until 2019, the festival, which catered to campers and commuters, took place over a four-day weekend in June, attracting as many as 50,000 people a day to the verdant site by Route 1 on the way to the Delaware beaches.

When it came back in 2021, after a pandemic break, Firefly shifted to September, with Billie Eilish among the headliners. That version of the fest was marred by rain, however. When the gathering made its return in 2022 with a lineup that included Dua Lipa and Halsey, numbers were reportedly down.

In October 2022, the festival announced that “after 10 magical years of Firefly in The Woodlands, we’ve decided to take a year to recharge our lights. We will see you in 2024!”

The chances of that actually happening this year began to seem slim in recent weeks, as the festival lineup for 2024 began to take shape.

Last week, the Roots Picnic announced its lineup for the Mann Center in June. Camden’s XPoNential Music Festival, which is scheduled for September, announced an initial lineup in mid-February, and added new names Thursday, including the Walkmen, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners, Brigitte Calls Me Baby, and Philly bands Florry, Moustapha Noumbissi, and Carla Gamble.

» READ MORE: McCartney highlights a happy, muddy, ready-to-party Firefly Fest

In making it official on Thursday, Firefly left the door open to return to Dover but stopped short of making a promise for next year that it might not be able to keep.

There will be a multiday music event at The Woodlands this year, though: Phish will present its Mondegreen Festival on the grounds from Aug. 14-18. That gain for Delaware is at the expense of Atlantic City, who played host to the Trey Anastasio-led jam band for three nights on the beach in 2021 and 2022.